Cayuga Sheriff says departing inmates need a helping hand

Aug 9, 2018

Credit freeimages.com/Nick Cowie

As Cayuga County Sheriff David Gould wraps up a nearly 50 year career in law enforcement, he says he wants to help former inmates at the county jail transition back into the community.

"Sometimes, these inmates get out and they have no direction; they don't know where they're going to go,” Gould said. “They walk out of here, they walk to their homes, they hitchhike, they take cabs and they have no thought of what the future's going to bring for them and no help for their problems."

Gould, who is retiring at the end of this year, is proposing the creation of a full-time transition coordinator to help inmates who have served their time or are out on bail find help with housing, substance abuse, mental health, or job training. He said the new position will not cost taxpayers any additional money. It would replace a retiring nurse on the county payroll.  In fact, Gould believes the program could end up saving taxpayers money if it lowers the recidivism rate.

"Everyone in our jail, everyone in every jail, is not a bad person,” he said. “There's a lot of them that are, but there's a lot of them that aren't. They made a mistake, they are down on their luck; something bad happened in their life, and now we have a chance to help them when they get out of jail, to find some sort of peace of mind and someone who will listen to them."

The proposal does require the approval of the Cayuga County Legislature. Gould hopes that happens in late September.

Monroe County does not have a single staff member providing transitional assistance to inmates at the county jail and correctional facility, but counselors are made available to inmates who are enrolled in a drug and alcohol program. 

Care managers also help inmates connect to mental health services, housing, and domestic violence courses.